Tag Archives: Spearmint

Mentha x smithiana

Botanical Name : Mentha x smithiana
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name: Red Raripila Mint

Habitat : Mentha x smithiana is native to Northern and Central Europe. It grows on moist soil in Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Cultivated Beds
Description:
Mentha x smithiana is a perennial herb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1.5 m (5ft) with red tinged leaves and stems and lilac flowers.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers partial shade and a slightly acid soil. This species is a hybrid involving M. aquatica x M. arvensis x M. spicata. It has sweetly mint-scented leaves with similar culinary uses to M. spicata. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – this hybrid is usually sterile, and even if seed is produced it will not breed true. If you do obtain seed, then it can be sown in spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. The sweetly scented leaves can be used in the same ways as spearmint. A good culinary mint, the leaves have an attractive red tinge. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. It has a very pleasant and refreshing taste of spearmint, leaving the mouth and digestive system feeling clean. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, ice cream, drinks etc.
Medicinal Uses:
Red raripila mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

Other Uses:
An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards: Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+smithiana
http://www.herbcentre.co.uk/index.php/default/shop/herb-plants/mints/mint-red.html

Mentha x piperita vulgaris

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Botanical Name:Mentha x piperita vulgaris
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name :Black Peppermint

Habitat :Black Peppermint is native to Britain. It is a natural hybrid plant, M. aquatica x M. spicata, found in moist soils in ditches, waste places etc.

Description:
Mentha x piperita vulgaris is a dark leaved hardy perennial herb, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October. Flower colour is mauve. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for the production of essential oils, but plants also succeed in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil. A commonly grown herb, it is often cultivated commercially for its essential oil. This is the black form of peppermint and it is said to produce a superior essential oil, making it the preferred choice as a food flavouring and for medicinal purposes. The oil is of better quality when the plant is grown on dry soils. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves are eaten raw or cooked. A strong peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. This plant should not be used by pregnant women, see the notes above on toxicity. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
Black peppermint is a very important and commonly used herbal remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be stronger acting than white peppermint (Mentha x piperita officinalis). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments. The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Cooling’.

Other Uses:
An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. It is used medicinally and as a food flavouring. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri. They were formerly used as a strewing herb. The plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards: In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+piperita+vulgaris
http://www.herbalhaven.com/shop/product-details/101/mint—black-peppermint

Spearmint (Mentha viridis)

Botanical Name :Mentha viridis
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe:     Mentheae
Genus:     Mentha
Species: M. spicata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Lamiales

Synonyms :Mentha spicata, Garden Mint. Mentha Spicata. Mackerel Mint. Our Lady’s Mint. Green Mint. Spire Mint. Sage of Bethlehem. Fish Mint. Menthe de Notre Dame. Erba Santa Maria. Frauen Munze. Lamb Mint.

Common Names : Spearmint or spear mint , Mentha  crispa

Habitat : Spearmint  is native to Eaurope and Iceland, but has become naturalized in other parts of the world. It is naturalized throughout the United States and Canada.It is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region of North America, where it was first sighted in 1843.

Description:
Spearmint is a herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial plant growing 30–100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The leaves are 5–9 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The stem is square-shaped, a trademark of the mint family of herbs. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5–3 mm long, and broad.
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Hybrids involving spearmint include Mentha × piperita (peppermint; hybrid with Mentha aquatica), Mentha × gracilis (ginger mint, syn. M. cardiaca; hybrid with Mentha arvensis), and Mentha × villosa (large apple mint, hybrid with Mentha suaveolens).

The name ‘spear’ mint derives from the pointed leaf tips.

Cultivation:
Spearmint grows well in nearly all temperate climates. Gardeners often grow it in pots or planters due to its invasive, spreading rhizomes. The plant prefers partial shade, but can flourish in full sun to mostly shade. Spearmint is best suited to loamy soils with abundant organic material.

Edible Uses:
Spearmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. They can also be preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil. The leaves lose their aromatic appeal after the plant flowers. It can be dried by cutting just before, or right (at peak) as the flowers open, about one-half to three-quarters the way down the stalk (leaving smaller shoots room to grow). Some dispute exists as to what drying method works best; some prefer different materials (such as plastic or cloth) and different lighting conditions (such as darkness or sunlight).

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents: The chief constituent of Spearmint oil is Carvone. There are also present Phellandrine, Limonene and dihydrocarveol acetate. Esters of acetic, butyric and caproic or caprylic acids are also present. (An Ester is a combination of an alcohol with an acid, the combination being associated with the elimination of water. The esters are highly important and in many cases dominant constituents of numerous essential oils, which owe their perfume largely, or in some cases entirely, to the esters contained. Many of the esters are used as flavouring or perfumery agents, and many are among the most important constituents of volatile salts.)

There are several different essential oils known under the name of Spearmint oil, the botanical origin of the plant used for distillation differing with the country in which the plant is grown. In the United States and in this country several varieties of M. viridis are distilled. In Russia the plant distilled is M. verticellata, and in Germany either M. longifolia, or more generally M. aquatica var. crispa – a plant cultivated in Northern Germany, the oil (called there Krausemünzöl) being imported into this country as German Spearmint oil. It appears to be identical with that from M. viridis. Oil of Spearmint is little distilled in England, either German oil or American oil distilled from M. viridis being imported.

The carminative, antispasmodic, and stimulant properties of spearmint are somewhat inferior to those of peppermint; its principal employment is for its diuretic and febrifuge virtues. As a febrifuge, it is superior to peppermint, and may be used freely in warm infusion. The cold infusion is beneficial in high color, or scalding of urine, difficult micturition, etc.; it may be used alone or in combination with marshmallow root. In fact, it is one of the best of simple diuretics, and acts nicely with potassium acetate. A saturated tincture of the fresh herb with gin has been found serviceable in gonorrhoea, strangury, suppressed urine, gravel, and as a local application to painful hemorrhoids. The oil is diuretic, stimulant, antispasmodic, and rubefacient, and is used externally in rheumatic and other pains. Dose, same as peppermint.

Other Uses :  Spearmint is often cultivated for its aromatic and carminative oil, referred to as oil of spearmint. The most abundant compound in spearmint oil is R-(–)-carvone, which gives spearmint its distinctive smell. Spearmint oil also contains significant amounts of limonene, dihydrocarvone, and 1,8-cineol. Unlike peppermint oil, oil of spearmint contains minimal amounts of menthol and menthone. It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps.

Known Hazards:To much use for some persons may cause Scanty secretion of urine with frequent desire to urinate; simple nausea.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spearmint
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/mentha-viri.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html#spe